07 July 2011

A postscript to journalistic quackery a la Channel 4

It was bound to happen. Channel 4 has suffered a serious case of egg-on-the-face, but it was almost inevitable. Channel 4 was motivated in the first instance by bitterness at having one of its correspondents deported for gross violation of expected professional ethics. Channel 4 has a considerable track record in dodgy and shoddy journalism. Channel 4 seems to have been intoxicated by the shrill self-righteous statements issued by British parliamentarians shamelessly pandering to the LTTE lobby hoping to secure electoral victory.  Channel 4 seems to have been outraged by the fact that all chances of preferred outcome materializing were buried on the shores of the Nandikadal Lagoon. 

‘Revenge’ was called for. Revenge was sought. And, as usually happens when delusion, hatred and greed inspire rather than deter, Channel 4 tripped. Over its own vomit, did I hear someone say?

A few days ago, in New York, there was a screening of the much advertised ‘documentary’ about what Channel 4 (and other interested parties including rabid chauvinistic elements among Sri Lankan Tamils overseas) want the world to believe happened in the last stages of the historic operation that rid Sri Lanka of the terrorist menace (interrupted by stoppages for snacks and chit-chat we are told). Major General Shavendra Silva who led the 58 Division at the time the 30 year war came to an end and now Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, New York, in a matter of a few minutes stripped Channel 4 of all vestiges of respectability and trustworthiness.

This does not mean of course that Channel 4 will confess to media quackery, apologize profusely to all Sri Lankans, all viewers and especially to the Tamil people living in other parts of the world for preying on their fears, insecurities, communal pride and grief. It does not mean that Channel 4 will fold up operations or even stamp ‘Chapter Closed’ on the door of its malice-ridden operations pertaining to Sri Lanka. It does not mean that this will be the last such effort on the part of terrorist-backers such as the Global Tamil Forum and the British Tamil Forum nor their partners in crime in the British Parliament, the European Union, the US State Department, certain UN agencies etc.

Neither will see racketeers like Jehan Perera and Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu shut up; it’s their livelihood to vilify things Sri Lankan and bat for forces that are determined to divide the country. For all their bleeding-heart bawls about human rights violations, these ruffians have with full knowledge advocated strategies that make for blood-letting. The will do so in the future too, I am sure. It’s a profitable business, we know. The intellectually dishonest, such as R.M.B. Senanayake and Kumar David will continue to pander to Eelam interests. Guaranteed.

We do not live in a world where social and political processes necessarily move towards the consecration of truth and justice. Tyranny wins, nine times out of ten.  The end of tyranny is only comic relief for world history has shown that tyrannies are not necessarily succeeded by democracies, nor tyrants by the benevolent, but rather other tyrannies and tyrants respectively.


Channel 4 with all the resources available could only come up with a movie.  A cheap one at that. Sure, there was clever use of the age-old misleading and misrepresenting trick, juxtaposition, and the use of music to wrap the lie in tragic flavours. There was the expected deliberate misnaming of terrorists as artists and journalists. The characters were, as expected, developed with careful non-mention of key and extremely relevant facts about who they are and what they’ve done. Care was taken not to compromise the purported ‘independence’ and ‘respectability’ of those employed to vilify the Government of Sri Lanka.

Greed, hatred and delusion did their usual work. They produced a sloppiness that the frills of music, lie-narration and doctored imagery just could not hide.  As was the case with the report submitted by the panel appointed by Ban Ki-moon to advise him on Sri Lanka, over-enthusiasm was the undoing of the Channel 4 movie.

‘Killing fields’ was supposed to buttress efforts by various forces to get the UN to authorize an ‘independent’ investigation into the ‘last days’ of the war (i.e when the LTTE was wiped out, and not, as should be the case, the time period that makes sense, February 22, 2002 to May 19, 2009).  Some want the truth. Some want confirmation by hook or crook of a cooked up story. Some want closure. Some want to use threat and intervention to extract regime change from the political chaos they believe these moves would generate. Some want to make Mahinda Rajapaksa submit to the Chelvanayakam Option (A little now, more later) by fixing Eelam-boundaries via the 13th Amendment, thereby legitimizing Eelam mythology. Most know and most pretend they don’t know that these malicious moves will only give life to communal disharmony and postpone reconciliation, even resulting in a fresh round of blood-letting.

Parts 1 - 3

Parts 4 - 6 

Malinda Seneviratne, a journalist and political analyst based in Sri Lanka
debunking the claims made by the
Report of the Secretary General of the UN
on Accountability in Sri Lanka [Darusman Report]
Channel 4 need not worry. Darusman won’t lose any sleep and neither will Navi Pillai, Louise Arbour, Manfred Novak, David Miliband, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, Bernard Kouchner, Robert Blake, Peter Hayes, Patricia Butenis etc.  Jehan Perera can take a lot of egg on his face.  So can Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu.  Kumar David might say it’s just facial cream.  R.M.B. Senanayake will offer a prayer and bat on in the sophomoric manner he has perfected.  Gordon Weiss might move to another exotic location where he can play ‘Conqueror and Subjugated’ and maybe write another book or two.

We must expect the above from these ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen’, ladies and gentlemen.  They are not fast asleep. They are not deaf or blind.  They were not born with twisted tongues.  They are pretending, most of them.  Therefore it will take a lot to wake them, make them hear and see, and make them speak the truth.

They don’t own Sri Lanka and they will not either. There are people who can say ‘I am Sri Lankan’ and ‘Sri Lanka is mine’, not because those words come easy but the civilization, heritage, culture, ways of being and becoming and the philosophies that nourished all this runs in their veins and make their sinews.  They and not the above mentioned individuals won the war for us, made this land free.  They alone will protect this earth in which the ashes of their ancestors are buried. They will be stopped, tripped, hurt and humiliated no doubt.  That’s in the short-term. History is long, ladies and gentlemen.

There will be tyrannies, no doubt.  Still, no tyranny is so efficient that it can obliterate a civilization. That takes multiple and consecutive tyrannies over many centuries.  We went through such a period. It lasted 500 years.  We survived.  A poorly made film by a set of crooks who are at best journalistic quacks just won’t do it.  Sorry.